Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday 56: Week 55 - The Adventures of Nanny Piggins by R.A. Spratt

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions
on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
Post a link along with your post back to this blog and to Storytime with Tonya and Friends at
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

I just received The Adventures of Nanny Piggins by R.A. Spratt:

The Adventures of Nanny Piggins

Here's the blurb:
When Mr. Green plants a NANNYWANTED sign on his front lawn, he has no idea the ad will be answered by a pig. Yes, a pig.  A fabulously sassy and impeccably dressed pig, as a matter of a fact!  With her insatiable urge to eat chocolate (and feed chocolate to everyone she loves), her high-flying spirit, and her unending sense of fun, Nanny Piggins takes the achildren on a year of surprises, adventures, and sugar highs that they'll never forget.

Here's my Friday 56:
The director of the gallery ignored her and warbled on.  Nanny Piggins passed toffees out to each of the children to fortify them through the inevitable speechifying.

About the Author:
R.A. Spratt is an award-winning comedy writer with 12 years of experience in the Australian television industry.  She lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband and daughter. Unlike Nanny Piggins, she has never been willingly shot out of a cannon.  You can visit her at

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Book Review of New Tricks by David Rosenfelt

New Tricks
Valerie and Grand Central Publishing are sponsoring a giveaway of  New Tricks by David Rosenfelt.  I've extended the deadline to Aug. 30!

The blurb:
Attorney Andy Carpenter is about to represent an adorable Bernese mountain dog puppy, whose owner was brutally murdered, in a custody fight.  Few can rival Andy's affection for dogs, and he's determined to keep Waggy from falling into the wrong hands.  But this playful pup possesses a valuable secret that some people will resort to violence to obtain.  It will take more than Andy's usual courtroom theatrics to save Waggy, including help from the lawyer's golden retriever, Tara.  Andy soon discovers that everyone around him is in danger, including his longtime girlfriend Laurie -- and only some high-risk new tricks will save those he cherishes most.

Attorney Andy Carpenter is a wise-cracking, dog-loving, and long-distance relationship balancing, trust fund baby.  He makes the most of his time now that he has the luxury of choosing his cases. In his own words: "I've been on a three month vacation from work.  I find that my vacations are getting longer and longer, almost to the point that vacationing is my status quo, from which I take infrequent 'work breaks.'  Two things enable me to do this: my mostly inherited wealth and my laziness."

When Carpenter's assigned to represent a dog in a custody dispute, the case gets complex quickly.  Carpenter narrowly misses being killed and the dog's claimants quickly drop in number.    Acting as an amateur sleuth and lawyer, Carpenter finds himself in the middle of a complex and dangerous plot involving the dog, a drug company, and a struggle for a huge fortune.  Carpenter faces the absurd, the dangerous, and the crazy with a keen sense of humor -- and takes on the challenge of unraveling the mystery behind the Bernese mountain dog and finding him a home.

Witty, fun, and a good read, New Tricks is sure to appeal to folks who enjoy legal thrillers, mysteries and dogs.

ISBN-10: 0446505889 - Mass Market Paperback  
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; Reprint edition (July 1, 2010), 384 pages

Review copy provided by the publisher.

Book Review of The Host by Stephenie Meyer

The Host: A Novel

I first started reading The Host some time ago.  It's Stephenie Meyer's first adult novel and it'd been a while since I'd read the Twilight series, so I wasn't sure how much I'd take to it.  Once I got over the initial uncertainty and understood what world they were living in,  I couldn't put the book down.

The blurb:
Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away.

Our world has been invaded by an unseen enemy that takes over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact.  But Wanderer the invading "soul" who occupies Melanie's body, finds its former tenant refusing to reliquish possession of her mind.

As Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who has avoided invasion and lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she's never met.  Soon Wanderer and Melanie--reluctant allies--set off to search for the man they both love.

Featuring one of the most unusual love triangles in literature, The Host is a riveting and unforgettable novel about the persistence of love and the essence of what it means to be human.

In The Host,  an alien species has found a way to colonize humans.  Through an invasive process, aliens are inserted into live humans.  Wanderer is a special alien in that she has lived in more "host planets" than almost any other of her species.   Through Wanderer's eyes, we understand the rationale behind the colonization of Earth and the benefits that the aliens think that they're bringing to the planet.

The invading culture is generally peace-loving - they have eradicated everyday conflict, frustration, anger, rivalry, greed and self-interest.  But the alien's culture also stresses their version of "the common good" above everything else.

The story is told from the point of view of Wanderer, the alien implanted in Melanie's body. Somehow, Melanie doesn't fade away like most hosts.   As Wanderer is interrogated by Searchers -- standard procedure as they mine the host's bodies for information and other regular humans -- Melanie blocks information about her brother and her boyfriend.   Instead, she struggles against Wanderer and she shares some of her memories.  By the time Wanderer realizes what Melanie is doing, Wanderer starts to care about Melanie's family. 

Melanie/Wanderer risks her life to find Melanie's family unharmed, but her search results in Wanderer in danger as  the sole "alien" in the middle of hostile humans.  Wanderer empathizes with the humans and understands the reason for their anger and hostility.   She isn't willing to defend herself and it's  Wanderer's reaction and example that make The Host a fascinating story and memorable read.

ISBN-10: 0316068055 - Trade Paperback
Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (April 13, 2010), 646 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author:
Stephenie Meyer is also the author of the bestselling Twilight series. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three sons.  The Host is her first novel for adults.